Design and Construction, Human Resources, Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

A Changing Office Environment: Hoteling vs. Hot-Desking

While the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to work remotely, the post-pandemic era has led to the creation of a hybrid model whereby employees come to the office sometimes and work remotely other times.

As companies look to downsize facility office spaces and save money, the traditional office model, whereby employees have their own full-time desks, has almost disappeared.

To meet their needs, employers should consider the following flexible seating arrangements: hoteling and hot-desking.


According to WeWork, hot-desking allows several employees to use desks, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis, at different times to help maximize space efficiency and reduce office space.


  1. Hot-desking allows companies to quickly expand by employing remote employees with minimal upfront costs.
  2. Workplaces can provide a community workspace facility employees can go to for collaboration, which helps minimize feelings of isolation.
  3. Employees can book meeting rooms on short notice.
  4. This type of environment encourages employees of all levels, including senior management, to sit together.


  1. There might not be enough desks for everyone, especially those who arrive late. 
  2. Available desks might be in a noisy place or near a high-traffic area.
  3. Employees with confidential information might want a more private working environment.
  4. Employees’ sharing the same desk could result in hygiene issues. Facilities management staff should therefore clean desks between workers or have workers clean their own desks.
  5. This arrangement doesn’t provide enough flexibility to employees who might only want to come into the facility on certain days and may not want to stick to a rigid schedule.


Unlike hot-desking, hoteling requires employees to book desks in advance, often using a mobile app, like how people book a hotel room, especially if they have specific preferences. In both situations, users must check in when they arrive.


  1. Companies can utilize space more effectively, especially when providing employees with options for different types of spaces they could book.
  2. Facilities managers could schedule loud maintenance and thorough cleaning activities outside of booked reservations.
  3. Employees can book a desk next to a colleague for collaboration purposes.
  4. Companies will know there are enough desks for employees who want to use the facility.
  5. It will encourage remote workers to visit the facility more frequently because they’ll know there’s a desk or a workspace waiting for them.


  1. A virtual facility floor plan and space management software will have to be set up, which makes initial setup more time-consuming.
  2. It could pose issues for employees working with confidential information, as nearby employees might view screens or documents that are left unattended.
  3. A lack of seating and availability could be difficult for last-minute meetings.
  4. Employees may prefer to do individual work from home and should only be required to participate in hoteling on days they want to collaborate.

As for companies that still have their own offices, facilities managers should help support employees whether employers choose hot-desking or hoteling. While both hot-desking and hoteling require employees to take their things with them before leaving the facility, these choices give employees more options regarding where they can work.

Coworking Spaces

Rather than having their own private office facilities, some companies are choosing to have coworking spaces with other companies. In these cases, employers should check with the landlord regarding the facilities management and security services that are provided.

Coworking spaces are great for the self-employed who don’t want to commit to long-term office leases, and some of these facilities can be found in shopping centers or downtown areas, making it more convenient for employees and visitors to shop or dine before or after work.

Supporting Employees

These options could mean facilities managers will have fewer areas to clean and maintain, but they should still consider how they can assist with space utilization and support employees when they’re working remotely.

Additionally, facilities managers can work with the information technology department in assisting employees remotely, such as with scheduling software, including smartphone apps for desks or conference rooms. Companies could also consider outsourcing facilities management functions.

To learn more about how facilities management can assist employees as they transition from a remote model to a hybrid model, check out “7 Ways Organizations Can Lead Workers into a Hybrid World” on Facilities Management Advisor.

Moreover, an article on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website recommends that employers reshape hybrid policies to better accommodate the needs of individuals and various groups, as well as repurpose their spaces to accommodate the new hybrid workplace and consider asking employees when they would like to come into the office.

To learn more about how facilities managers can prepare for hybrid work environments, check out “What Facilities Managers Need to Know About Hybrid Workspaces” on Facilities Management Advisor.

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